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+ the magazine of the powerhouse museum spring 05
design across time
powerline spring 05
contents issue 79
SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER 2005
O2 03 06 07 08 10 11 12 14 15 16 17 18 20 22 23 24
From the director Power picks 2005 Museums Australia Conference The Electronic Swatchbook New exhibition: Inspired! Design across time Museum mascots Members news Members calendar Members scene New acquisition: Marcello Nizzoli telephone Quarterly design talk: Wanda Jelmini Recycling fashion New exhibition: The cutting edge: fashion from Japan Locomotive No 1 upgrade Observatory news Corporate partners Exhibitions at a glance
TRUSTEES Dr Nicholas G Pappas, President Dr Anne Summers AO, Deputy President Mr Mark Bouris Ms Trisha Dixon Mr Andrew Denton Ms Susan Gray Ms Margaret Seale Mr Anthony Sukari Ms Judith Wheeldon SENIOR MANAGEMENT Dr Kevin Fewster AM, Director Jennifer Sanders, Deputy Director, Collections and Exhibitions Mark Goggin, Associate Director, Programs and Commercial Services Michael Landsbergen, Associate Director, Corporate Services Kevin Sumption, Associate Director, Knowledge and Information Management
from the director
In the days before this edition of Powerline was finalised the NSW Premier and Minister for the Arts, the Hon Bob Carr, announced his retirement from politics. Mr Carr was an enthusiastic supporter of the Powerhouse, in part because it reflects his passion for history, the contribution museums make to education and cultural enrichment, and the opportunity they provide to nurture a sense of community and respect for cultural diversity. We thank Mr Carr for his support of the Museum and look forward to welcoming him back regularly as a visitor. We look forward to working with the newly appointed Minister, the Hon Bob Debus. Minister Debus was for some time Minister Assisting the Premier on the Arts, and shares the former Premier’s enthusiasm for museums and the cultural sector. The end of the financial year provided an opportunity to reflect on some of the significant achievements of the past 12 months. Regular readers of Powerline will be aware that the Powerhouse celebrated its 125th anniversary, marked by an extremely successful free weekend of activities and events last September and the publication of Yesterday’s tomorrows, a fascinating history of our development over the past century and a quarter. A further highlight was our hosting of the Museums Australia Conference in May. Perhaps the most outstanding milestone was achieving our highest visitor attendances for more than a decade. Over 700 000 people visited the Powerhouse and Sydney Observatory during the year. Equally pleasing were the record numbers (680 000) who attended our travelling exhibitions across NSW, Australia and beyond. Exhibition highlights at the Powerhouse included the beautiful Bright flowers: textiles and ceramics of Central Asia, the hugely successful The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy — The Exhibition, and Greek treasures: from the Benaki Museum in Athens, one of our most popular exhibitions in recent years. You will be interested to hear that membership numbers have also risen to record levels as a consequence of the strong 2004–05 program. We thank each and every member for your support and commitment to the Museum. We look forward to seeing you and your families enjoying the feast of program offerings over the next 12 months and, in between times, taking a few moments to relax in the Members Lounge. Enjoy! Dr Kevin Fewster AM Director
FRONT COVER FROM THE EXHIBITION INSPIRED! DESIGN ACROSS TIME, SUPER ELEVATED GILLIES, DESIGNED BY VIVIENNE WESTWOOD, LONDON, 1993–4. PURCHASED 1997; LADY’S ARMCHAIR, MAKER UNKNOWN, ENGLAND, ABOUT 1850. PURCHASED 1983; VASE IN BLUE JASPER, DECORATION DESIGNED BY HENRY WEBBER AFTER CHARLES LE BRUN FOR JOSIAH WEDGWOOD & SONS, ENGLAND, 1786–90. GIFT OF POWERHOUSE MEMBERS 1990. PHOTOS BY SUE STAFFORD AND PENELOPE CLAY. BACK COVER PHOTO BY SUE STAFFORD.
Where to find us
Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Darling Harbour, Sydney Opening hours 10.00 am – 5.00 pm every day (except Christmas Day). School holiday opening hours 9.30 am – 5.00 pm
Powerline is produced by the Print Media Department of the Powerhouse Museum
Postal address: PO Box K346, Haymarket NSW 1238 Telephone (02) 9217 0111 Infoline (02) 9217 0444, Education (02) 9217 0222
The Powerhouse Museum, part of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences also incorporating Sydney Observatory, is a NSW government cultural institution.
PO Box K346, Haymarket NSW 1238 Editor: Tracy Goulding Editorial coordinator: Deborah Renaud Design: Trigger Photography: Powerhouse Museum unless otherwise stated.
Every effort has been made to locate owners of copyright for the images in this publication. Any inquiries should be directed to the Rights and Permissions Officer, Powerhouse Museum. ISSN 1030-5750 © Trustees of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences
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FROM FARM MACHINERY TO GREEK TREASURES, THE MUSEUM EXTENDS ITS COMMUNITY LINKS.
GRAHAM CLEGG HELPS STABILISE ONE OF THE WHEELS OF WOLLOMBI’S STRIPPER. PHOTO BY MARINCO KOJDANOVSKI.
all in a day’s work
Powerhouse Museum regional services adviser Graham Clegg recently spent a day in Wollombi helping the local Endeavour Museum recover a stripper and winnower that had served much of the area from 1890–1940. Until the mid 1840s the Australian grain crop was laboriously harvested with sickles and threshed manually. In the hot, dry conditions much grain was lost due to shedding or shattering the ripened heads. In South Australia where these losses were most severe, a £40 prize was offered for a practical design for a mechanical harvester that could overcome the problem. Local farmer John Wrathall Bull came up with a design that attracted the attention of flour miller John Ridley. Ridley developed the invention into a workable machine — the stripper — which quickly became an essential piece of equipment for bringing in the grain harvest. Wollombi’s stripper and its accompanying winnower, used
The Museum’s Moveable Heritage Program helps build regional collections.
HIS GRACE BISHOP SERAPHIM (RIGHT) AND DIMITRI KEPREOTES OF THE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF AUSTRALIA AT THE OPENING OF THE GREEK TREASURES EXHIBITION. PHOTO BY MARINCO KOJDANOVSKI.
to clean the harvested grain, were bought by the Milson family of ‘Byora’, Laguna, in the 1890s. The machines were still housed in their original shed on the property, where the subsiding earth floor had caused damage to one of the wooden wheels. The work to date has involved stabilising the objects in the shed and helping to get them ready to move to a purpose-built extension to the Endeavour Museum, where they will be housed. This work is part of the Powerhouse Museum’s Movable Heritage Program, an initiative funded with the assistance of the Ministry for the Arts, which aims to strengthen regional collections and develop community capacity and local identity. Other projects currently underway include work on an exhibition with the Wollondilly Heritage Centre on the Estonian Poultry Farmers of Thirlmere, and the conservation of an early wooden windmill with the Hay Gaol Museum.
a rich history
A highlight for Museum visitors over the winter months has been the Greek treasures: from the Benaki Museum in Athens exhibition. The exhibition, which features artworks and artefacts from 8000 years of Greek history, opened in early May with special guests including then NSW Premier and Arts Minister, the Hon Mr Bob Carr, Greece’s Deputy Minister for Culture, Dr Petros Tatoulis, Dr Stavros Vlizos from the Benaki Museum, and many members of the local Greek community. Dr Vlizos, who spoke on behalf of the director of the Benaki Museum, Dr Angelos Delivorrias, compared Greek treasures to the Our place: Indigenous Australia now exhibition, staged in Athens during the 2004 Olympics. ‘In both cases,’ he said, ‘the resilience of two different cultural traditions is projected ... consoling examples of the struggle to secure survival being waged constantly around the globe.’ The exhibition, which has attracted record crowds, closes in Sydney on 4 September, before opening at Melbourne’s Immigration Museum in October.
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The Powerhouse Museum was once again a popular presence at the Hunter Valley Steamfest, which this year celebrated its 20th anniversary as one of Australia’s leading steam heritage events. The festival held in Maitland on 15–17 April attracted a record breaking crowd of train buffs, families, friends, locals and tourists — everybody there for a weekend packed with the excitement and awe that only steam engines can inspire. A highlight of the weekend was a race between the Museum’s Locomotive 3830 and a tiger moth. Of course the loco won!
The 38 class locomotives dominated NSW railways from the 1940s to the 1960s, and Loco 3830 was the last of these to be produced in NSW. It took five years, from 1992 to 1997, to restore the engine to its former glory. It is now housed at the Eveleigh Railway Workshop and operated on special occasions by the volunteer steam railway company 3801 Ltd. Another drawcard at Steamfest was the Museum’s display of engineering models selected to commemorate the 150th anniversary of NSW railways in September this year.
d factory draws a cool crowd
JOIN US ON THE LAST THURSDAY OF THE MONTH FOR A DRINK, A DESIGN TALK AND SOME COOL MUSIC AT D FACTORY. PHOTO BY SUE STAFFORD.
In August d factory celebrated its first anniversary as the destination of choice for young designers and students. Over the past 12 months d factory, hosted by TV presenter Nell Schofield, has poked and prodded at a number of issues in the design world, with guests talking about everything from sustainability to shopping. A recent highlight, organised to coincide with the Sydney Writers’ Festival, drew a crowd of over 350 people to hear award-winning graphic designer Vince Frost, Canadian author Colin McAdam and publisher, Jane Palfreyman, share their thoughts on what makes a winning cover. Students of Enmore Design Centre got into the spirit by
presenting their take on covers as diverse as Othello and Dial m for murder. DJ Peter Dolso played his sexy fusion of house, funk disco and jazz while the bar kept those Bombay Sapphire cocktails flowing. Getting a chance to hear designers talk about what makes for a good look and a good product is always going to draw a crowd. If you combine that with some killer DJ sounds, you’re really in for a great night. For details about what’s coming up next at d factory, visit powerhousemuseum.com/ dfactory/
LOCOMOTIVE 3830 IN ACTION AT THE 2005 HUNTER VALLEY STEAMFEST. PHOTO COURTESY HUNTER RIVER COUNTRY TOURISM AND JONNI LANE DIGITAL IMAGES
LEFT TO RIGHT: DR KEVIN FEWSTER, JOSHUA, NATHAN AND BEN O’REGAN. PHOTO BY SOTHA BOURN.
Not many visitors to the Hunter Valley Steamfest celebrations could resist buying a ticket in the fund raising raffle for the Museum’s Locomotive 3265 rebuilding project. Built in England in 1901, Locomotive 3265 is the only surviving member of its class. While in service in the 1930s it was famous for hauling the Sydney to Newcastle Businessman’s Express, decked out in splendid black and maroon livery. The locomotive was acquired by the Powerhouse in 1967 and is currently housed at
the Eveleigh Railway Workshop while it is being restored. The raffle prize, a magnificent fine-scale model of Locomotive 3801, generously donated by Precision Scale Models of Melbourne, was won by Ben O’Regan of Scone. Ben and his sons Joshua and Nathan came into the Museum to meet the director Dr Kevin Fewster who presented the prize. The raffle raised $2430 for the 3265 Fund which will go towards materials to rebuild the coal tender.
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on the road again
NARDI SIMPSON OF THE STIFF GINS . PHOTO BY SOTHA BOURN.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the 1965 Freedom Ride when a bus load of university students gained international media attention as they travelled through outback NSW exposing racial discrimination. In February this year members of ReconciliACTION, the youth arm of Reconciliation NSW, retraced those steps. As part of the Museum’s program for Reconciliation Week in late May, these two generations of Freedom Riders came
together at the Powerhouse to discuss what had and hadn’t changed. Back on the bus: regeneration and reconciliation featured author Ann Curthoys, Indigenous academic Darryl French, video vox pops, young activists, a large bus in the courtyard and the music of the Indigenous duo The Stiff Gins. The bus remained in the courtyard for several days, before heading off for the National Youth Forum on Reconciliation in Canberra.
Something to look forward to this summer: Kylie: an exhibition features a fabulous collection of costumes spanning the 17 year career of this Australian cultural icon.
KYLIE: AN EXHIBITION, OPENING AT THE POWERHOUSE ON 26 DECEMBER, IS A TRAVELLING EXHIBITION FROM THE ARTS CENTRE, MELBOURNE. PHOTO ©DARENOTE LTD 2004.
Last year the Museum collaborated with Sydney Water to host a weekend display of water-saving devices and sustainable gardening techniques. The display proved to be so popular that we’re doing it again, only this year it’s bigger and better. Now running for a week and featuring energy saving tips as well, highlights will include new water and energy friendly inventions, interactive showcases and workshops for all ages. And to top it off, there’s a free
weekend on 10–11 September to come and see it all. This is a great opportunity to find out how to make our precious water and energy last the distance. Watts ‘n’ drops will be at the Powerhouse from 10–18 September.
PRESENTED BY THE NSW DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, UTILITIES AND SUSTAINABILITY, SYDNEY WATER AND THE POWERHOUSE MUSEUM.
THIS SUSTAINABLE GARDEN WAS A HIGHLIGHT OF THE H20 SHOW LAST YEAR. PHOTO BY SANDRA MCEWEN.
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THE POWERHOUSE WAS A KEY PLAYER IN THE 2005 MUSEUMS AUSTRALIA NATIONAL CONFERENCE.
Over 500 delegates, navigation between two venues, keynotes, workshops, parallel sessions, lunches, tea breaks, a trade show, posters and social events — it was an intense four days with challenging logistics but the 2005 Museums Australia National Conference was celebrated as an unqualified success. Overall this year’s conference was about ‘taking stock’ of the place of museums as they seek to redefine their role at the beginning of a new century. To achieve this, the conference was organised into three main themes: the challenges facing museums as they seek to assert their continuing relevance in the 21st century; the contested ownership of collections; and exploring ways in which museums can be proactive in a time of transition. Running parallel to these sessions was the popular remote and regional stream of keynote speakers and workshops. The aim of this year’s program was to assist small and medium-size collecting institutions in regional Australia by providing delegates with an opportunity to network and share knowledge with other professionals in the sector. A substantial bursary program, funded primarily by the National Museum of Australia and the Department of Communication, Information Technology and the Arts, was offered to 52 people working in regional museums — 60% of whom were volunteers. Bursary recipients came from every state, and as far afield as the Northern Territory and Norfolk Island. Thirteen radio interviews, co-ordinated by the conference’s media consultant, Martin Portus, highlighted the importance, the challenges and the fragility of many of the country’s regional museums. At a welcome reception on the Sunday evening, then NSW Premier and Minister for the Arts, the Hon Bob Carr, launched the conference and the Museum’s history Yesterday’s tomorrows. The following morning, Roger Wilkins, Director General of the NSW Ministry for the Arts and head of the Cabinet Office, and Senator, the Hon Rod Kemp, Federal Minister for the Arts and Sport, officiated at the opening plenary, following the welcome to country by Powerhouse curators James Wilson-Miller and Fabri Blacklock. The Powerhouse Museum was a true colleague in the planning of the conference, hosting the opening welcome event, all the parallel sessions, many of the special interest group meetings, the full council meeting of Museums Australia, the remote and regional plenary, the trade show, the Museums Australia Publication Design Awards (MAPDA) display of shortlisted entries and a delegate’s preview of the Greek treasures exhibition. It was also through the Powerhouse that Museums Australia received an introduction to the ABC, which provided the excellent Eugene Goossens Hall for the plenary sessions. The whole of the museums sector and all divisions of Museums Australia also got behind the conference. The Australian Museum hosted the special event Proud traditions, positive futures: Indigenous people challenge museums, the National Maritime Museum was a generous sponsor for the MAPDA Gala, the Historic Houses Trust provided a focus for the museum critique, the University of Sydney Museums hosted the conference dinner at the Nicholson Museum and MacLaurin Hall, and Macquarie University, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the National Trust provided venues for conference meetings and sessions. Regional, local and specialist museums, three of the association’s state branches and eight special interest groups, and Museums and Galleries NSW also contributed. The Government of Canada supported the participation of keynote speaker Andrea Laforet, the Goethe Institut Sydney enabled Hans-Martin Hinz to come to Australia and the United States Information Service assisted with travel for John Simmons. Luna Media, the publishers of Cosmos, and the Australian Innovation Festival were also sponsors of the MAPDA Gala event. The organisation of the conference was undertaken by a team of volunteers from the NSW branch of Museums Australia. They were led by the NSW MA branch president, Rebekah Schulz, and vice president, Rebecca Pinchin, with tireless support from Susan Sedgwick, Danielle Head, Serena Manwaring, Cate Purcell, Paul Bentley, Helen Pithie, Elissa Blair, Maree Darrell and Julie Potts. What was the impact on delegates? This comment summed up the general feeling: ‘A very rich, diverse and animated series of speakers. The program left me breathless. Where should we go? What to choose? What to hear? Congratulations to all those involved. I will return refreshed, enthused and encouraged!’ Carol Scott, Immediate Past President, Museums Australia
SCENES FROM THE CONFERENCE WELCOME RECEPTION (FROM TOP LEFT): FORMER POWERHOUSE DIRECTOR DR LINDSAY SHARP WITH DR KEVIN FEWSTER; THEN NSW PREMIER & MINISTER FOR THE ARTS, THE HON BOB CARR; CONFERENCE DELEGATES GATHERED OUTSIDE THE POWERHOUSE MUSEUM. PHOTOS BY JEAN FRANCOIS LANZARONE.
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THE MUSEUM’S COLLECTION OF FASHION SWATCHBOOKS GOES ONLINE.
textile treasure trove
Every year Powerhouse fashion and textile curators usher countless design students and researchers into the Museum’s basement to look at our fashion swatchbooks. These books, full of hundreds of small fabric samples compiled by manufacturers and merchants to record and promote the latest fabric designs, provide an amazing resource for artists and designers researching fashion history or seeking inspiration. Now two volumes of the Museum’s swatches from 1893–94 and 1923 have gone online so that many more people can access this rich collection. This is one of the first websites of its kind in the world, with over 600 swatches that can be viewed and downloaded as high resolution images. As all samples are now out of copyright in Australia, they can be reused in new fabric designs or homewares — whatever takes your fancy. And this is just the beginning. The website will be regularly updated with swatches from over 150 years of fabric design from the Museum’s collection. You can find this amazing collection at powerhousemuseum.com/ electronicswatchbook/
The swatches are in the public domain in Australia but use in other countries may require copyright permission.
A SMALL SELECTION OF SWATCHES FROM THE ELECTRONIC SWATCHBOOK.. PHOTOS BY SOTHA BOURN AND MARINCO KOJDANOVSKI.
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HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR NEW DECORATIVE ARTS AND DESIGN EXHIBITION ‘INSPIRED! DESIGN ACROSS TIME’.
the power and pleasure of objects
Metal specialist Janos Korban and architect Stefanie Flaubert formed their design and production partnership in Stuttgart in 1993, specialising in furniture, lighting and architectural installations. In 1995 the Adelaide-born and educated pair relocated to Sydney, where they have since built on their reputation for highly innovative design work ranging from multipleproduction plastic seating, to limited edition lighting and furniture, to site-specific commissioned sculptures for corporate clients. Their work constantly explores new formal aesthetics and methodologies and the ambiguous interplay between functional object and structural form. The steel mesh ‘Membrane’ chaise-longue, which was shown at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2003, was designed in 1998. The concept has undergone a number of modifications since then — a process of refinement that underlines Korban/Flaubert’s experimental approach to design. With a practice that manages to successfully balance commercial production with more creative, limited edition pieces, the partnership is fast developing a reputation both locally and internationally. Anne Watson, Curator, Decorative Arts and Design
Hope Egyptian revival suite
In the dynamic years leading up to the opening of the Powerhouse in 1988 the Museum was able to make a number of highly significant acquisitions. Among them was a suite of Egyptian revival furniture — a settee and two armchairs — designed in about 1800 by Thomas Hope, a wealthy English Regency collector and adventurer. Hope, whose beautiful line drawings for the rooms of his grand
London residence were published in his book Household furniture and interior decoration in 1807, was one of the most influential designers of the Regency period. The two armchairs turned up at a local Sydney auction in 1984, their significance unrecognised by both the vendor and the auctioneer. At some stage their history had been lost. The settee, acquired two years later from a Melbourne dealer, had a similarly mysterious past. Eventually the riddle of the
furniture’s relocation to Australia was solved: it had been bought in London in about 1920 by Sir Alfred Ashbolt, agent-general for Tasmania, who had then taken it back to his impressive home ‘Lena’ in Hobart in 1924. The three pieces were sold at a Melbourne auction by Sir Alfred’s family in the 1940s and it seems that knowledge of their significance and origin was lost from this date — until their ‘rediscovery’ by the Museum in the mid 1980s. Anne Watson, Curator, Decorative Arts and Design
SETTEE, REGENCY EGYPTIAN REVIVAL STYLE, MADE IN EBONISED AND GILT BEECH AND OAK. DESIGNED BY THOMAS HOPE, ENGLAND ABOUT 1800. PURCHASED WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE PATRONS OF THE POWERHOUSE MUSEUM, 1987.
‘MEMBRANE’ METAL CHAISE-LONGUE DESIGNED AND MADE BY KORBAN / FLAUBERT, SYDNEY, 1998 / 2003. PURCHASED 2003. PHOTO BY MARINCO KOJDANOVSKI.
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William Kerr epergne
About 24 large silver presentation centrepieces were made in Australia in the 19th century, only about half of which have survived. This piece, an epergne or table centrepiece, was made in the workshop of leading Sydney silversmith William Kerr in the late 1800s. Born in Northern Ireland, Kerr came to the colony of NSW with his family as a child in 1841. Standing 72 centimetres high, this tour de force of Australian silversmithing was made to celebrate the success of the first Australian cricket team to tour Britain. It depicts a cricket
match taking place under a large Australian native tree fern, with flannel flowers, bottle brush, goannas and snakes on the ground. The use of native decorative motifs in Australian 19th century sporting trophies is rare as sport was firmly rooted in British culture, and designs mostly emulated English models. Although designed as a trophy, it was never actually presented. Instead it is thought to have stood as a display piece in the window of Kerr's George Street shop in Sydney. It was donated to the Museum by the Kerr family when the shop closed in 1938. Eva Czernis-Ryl, Curator, Decorative Arts and Design
GLASS AND GILT VASE MADE BY LEGRAS & CIE, FRANCE, ABOUT 1905, 65 X 18 CM. PURCHASED WITH FUNDS PROVIDED BY THE AUSTRALIAN DECORATIVE AND FINE ARTS SOCIETY, KURING-GAI, 2004. PHOTO BY JEAN-FRANCOIS LANZARONE.
Legras & Cie vase
This spectacular blown-glass vase was made in about 1905 by the Paris glassworks Legras & Cie, which specialised in acid-etched and enamelled cameo glass. During the first decade of the 1900s Legras & Cie became a major exponent of the École de Nancy led by Emile Gallé, France’s leading maker of decorative glass in the fashionable Art Nouveau style. The firm produced a wide variety of commercial artglass, both cameo and painted in enamels, but also made some large high-quality pieces for international exhibitions. Only a few of these more elaborate examples have survived. The large size, unusual design, complex technique (two layers of transparent green glass
with aventurine spangles trapped between) and lavish decoration of this vase indicate that it may have been an exhibition piece. While many of Legras designs of this period used naturalistic motifs, some, like this vase, display more stylised decoration and sumptuous Rococo rocailles (scrolls). The decoration on this piece is based on mistletoe, a motif perfectly suited to the curvilinear Art Nouveau style, but the overall design reveals the influence of the 18th century Rococo style. Eva Czernis-Ryl, Curator, Decorative Arts and Design
Madeleine Vionnet (1876–1975) was best known for her use of the bias cut, so beautifully illustrated in this early 1930s evening dress. By cutting her fabric at 45° to the grain, Vionnet created a seductive and daring look that contrasted beautifully with the corseted and stiffened silhouettes popular for much of the 19th century. Vionnet’s designs were dramatic and ingeniously cut, using fabric with the greatest respect for its particular qualities. The bodice of this cream silk hopsack weave gown is in three sections, gathered and held by shoulder straps inserted into channels which cross at the back. The straps, jewelled with aquamarine and clear faceted glass stones set into metal mounts, are a typical Vionnet innovation, combining jewellery and fabric in one design. Vionnet’s expertise evolved from many years of apprenticeship, observation and practice both in making and selling. At 12 years of age she started her first job and later worked for Paris couturiers Callot Soeurs and Doucet before she set up her own business in 1912. Lindie Ward, Assistant Curator, International Decorative Arts and Design
EPERGNE OF SILVER, EMU EGGS, GLASS AND WOOD, MADE BY WILLIAM KERR, SYDNEY, 1879. 72 X 40 CM. GIFT OF W T KERR, 1938. PHOTO BY PENELOPE CLAY.
Hanssen Pigott ‘still life’
Gwyn Hanssen Pigott (b 1935) is one of Australia’s most well known and respected ceramic artists, with an established reputation both in Australia and overseas. Inspired first by the work of Australian potter Ivan McMeekin in the 1950s, she went on to work with Bernard Leach and Michael Cardew in England in the ’60s, and was also influenced by modernists such as Lucie Rie (all of whom are represented in the Inspired! exhibition). Later, attracted by the freshness and vigour of traditional woodfired French stonewares, she set up a
pottery in rural France, before returning to Australia in 1973. In the early 1970s she saw the work of the ‘still life’ painter Giorgio Morandi, and wrote: ‘I love his searching, obsessive, describing of the common objects that were his subject and measure.' This group is characteristic of the work Hanssen Piggot has been making for many years. Arranging finely made domestic forms into groups she calls ‘still lives’ or, sometimes, 'families', she wants them to be considered in a way that ‘might raise a question, lengthen a glance’. Grace Cochrane, Senior Curator, Australian Decorative Arts and Design
Inspired! Design across time opens on 6 October.
‘STILL LIFE WITH YELLOW BOWLS’, WHEELTHROWN AND SLIPCAST IN LIMOGES PORCELAIN AND SOUTHERN ICE PORCELAIN, MADE BY GWYN HANSSEN PIGOTT, 2002. PURCHASED 2002. PHOTO BY MARINCO KOJDANOVSKI.
SILK EVENING DRESS MADE BY MADELEINE VIONNET, PARIS, FRANCE ABOUT 1930. PURCHASED 1996. PHOTO BY JEAN FRANCOIS LANZARONE.
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NEW RELEASES FROM POWERHOUSE PUBLISHING
Remember! Members receive 10% discount on all titles from the Powerhouse Shop and mailorder
OUR NEW MASCOTS MAKE THE MUSEUM MORE CHILD FRIENDLY.
The cutting edge: fashion from Japan LOUISE MITCHELL (ED)
The cutting edge looks at the work of 19 Japanese designers including pioneers Hanae Mori and Kenzo Takada; textile innovators Junichi Arai and Reiko Sudo; the ‘big 3’, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto; and the exciting work of a new generation of designers who continue to challenge Western notions of fashion.
Available from 27 September. 112 pages, with over 120 images.
RRP $39.95. Special price from the Powerhouse Shop and mailorder $34.95 / members $32.00
two new faces in town
Every year the Museum welcomes over 110 000 visitors in the 5 to 10 years age group. This group of young visitors represents approximately 25% of our total visiting population, either coming with their family or friends or as a class group. But it’s not hard to imagine that the vast and sometimes strange world of the Museum might be at times a rather overwhelming experience for the young visitor. All that looking up! To make the Museum more welcoming for young people we are introducing two new friends — mascots to guide the way to the most interesting places for children. The mascots will serve as signposts to family friendly programs and exhibitions, ‘sitting on the shoulder’ of every child to bring the Museum to life for them. Our mascots are an unlikely pair — an alliance from different worlds with a friendship that suits them both. One is an inquisitive girl. She is creative and clever, with loads of imagination and energy to burn. The girl is rather like each and every child who enters the Museum, feeling excited by the potential for fun and wanting to know more! The robot is her mate — a machine with unlimited knowledge stored in a logical fashion in its database. The robot is really very helpful but unimaginative. Happily she has many questions and her robotic friend has many answers. The key to their friendship is their interest in learning and solving problems. Their unusual alliance is of course a metaphor for the Museum visit. Their creator is the young artist Melanie Bedford who studied illustrating at the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE. She works freelance from her beachside home on the Great Ocean Road. Even from afar the mascots spoke to her: ‘I had no trouble visualising the characters, and to grow them on to the page was no challenge at all — I loved them from the start.’ Melanie laughs at the suggestion that perhaps the girl is herself as a child. ‘I was always making, drawing or collecting things. I loved museums and galleries so you might be right! I saw the girl as quite organised and deliberate rather than chaotic, hence her big watch and many pockets with pencils neatly arranged. She is always carrying something of interest — a flower or a calculator or some kind of gizmo.’ Initially the mascots will be used in signage and advertisements. The entire Museum will be their home with a special hangout at the Playspace — a new space dedicated to children’s programs. Eventually young visitors will be able to ‘meet’ the characters themselves in Museum tours designed specially for families. Our mascots are yet to have names. We thought it best to leave that to the imagination of our young visitors. Watch out for more information about how to vote for a name that suits you and them. Helen Whitty, Program Development Coordinator
Sydney Observatory 2006 Australian sky guide DR NICK LOMB Compact, easy to use and reliable, the Sky guide contains month-by-month constellations, tidal charts, sun and moon rise and set times, facts on all the planets, meteorite movements plus details of the year’s most exciting astronomical events. Recommended for anglers, sailers, photographers, journalists, teachers, students — and anyone who looks up at the stars and wants to know more. With simple instructions for use Australia-wide. Available from December. Order now! 112 pages. RRP $15.00 / members $13.50
See the mailorder insert in this issue.
Powerhouse books are available from the Powerhouse Shop, good bookstores and by mailorder. For more information or to order, contact Powerhouse Publishing on (02) 9217 0129 or email email@example.com www.powerhousemuseum.com/ publications
THE MUSEUM’S MASCOTS, CREATED BY ILLUSTRATOR MELANIE BEDFORD, WILL BE LAUNCHED IN THE SUMMER SCHOOL HOLIDAYS.
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THE MEMBERS BASEMENT TOUR HAS BEEN BROUGHT BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND.
TOUR GUIDE TERRY MOONEY WITH ONE OF THE MANNEQUINS IN THE BASEMENT. PHOTO BY JEAN-FRANCOIS LANZARONE.
NEWS AND PHOTOS exclusive events family activities special offers
delving into the depths
To mark this year’s History Week festivities in late September and the conclusion of the Museum’s 125th anniversary celebrations at the end of August, members are invited to take part in a special event showcasing parts of our collection that few visitors ever see — The Members Basement Tour, an experience not to be missed! Powerhouse staff member Terry Mooney, who works with our hidden collection every day and knows all its secrets, will be conducting the tours.
Join him as he delves into the Museum’s underground holding area to view objects as they are never ordinarily seen — stacked high and deep in specially commissioned storage units, folded and filed into drawers and tucked behind protective tissue. Terry will also discuss conservation methods used by the Museum to protect its collection. See the September Members Calendar for more details.
If you would like to receive the regular Members e-newsletter with updates on all members events please call (02) 9217 0600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your membership number and e-newsletter in the subject line.
from the members team
Lately celebrations commemorating the Powerhouse’s 125th anniversary have brought the history of the Museum to particular prominence in the minds of members and staff. To cap it off we hope members will join us for our History Week events in late September, especially the chance to discover some hidden treasures in our Members Basement Tours. And as the days get longer and the weather warmer we’re pleased to be able to invite members to a great program of events coming up this spring. A highlight has to be the launch of our new exhibition The cutting edge: fashion from Japan. This promises to be the glamour event of the year, celebrating the work of 19 leading Japanese designers who together have redefined our notions of fashion. And if that isn’t enough, the following week we’re launching our new permanent exhibition, Inspired! Design across time. This magnificent exhibition covers 300 years of decorative arts and design and is one we know members will find fascinating. And don’t forget the Members Lounge is open seven days a week, so drop in whenever you’re visiting. We’d love to see you. The Members Team
EDITORS KIMBERLEY WEBBER AND GRAEME DAVISON AT THE LAUNCH OF THE MUSEUM’S 125TH ANNIVERSARY BOOK YESTERDAY’S TOMORROWS. PHOTO BY JEAN FRANCOIS LANZARONE.
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Wednesday 21 September
Sydney Observatory Weather station, windmill and fort
Saturday 24 September
SoundHouse™ Digital music workshop for teenagers
Celebrate History Week at Observatory Hill. Discover how it was transformed over the years from a fort to a mill, to a signal station, a weather station and finally an observatory, and learn all about its role in meteorology. Then join us for morning or afternoon tea on the Russell Room balcony. 10.00 am and 2.00 pm
Cost: members $6; guests $8. Bookings essential on 9217 0485. Numbers limited to 30 spaces per tour. Tours last one hour.
In this workshop the SoundHouse™ and VectorLab will become your own production house as you work with the Museum’s digital media experts to devise, write, project manage and produce your own digital music projects. 1.00–5.00 pm
Cost: members $60; guests $90 (includes $30 student membership)
FROM INSPIRED! DESIGN ACROSS TIME, THE ‘LOCKHEED LOUNGE’, DESIGNED BY MARK NEWSON, SYDNEY, 1998–90. PURCHASED 1991.
Tuesday 4 October
Sydney Observatory Mini-Martian Day
Wednesday 5 October
Exhibition launch Inspired! Design across time
A fun day specially for under 8 year olds! Come to Sydney Observatory and celebrate Earth’s close encounter with Mars — make an alien, paint your own Mars artwork, and go on a journey to Mars in our 3-D Space Theatre. 10.30 am – 2.00 pm
Cost: member child $8; guest child $10 (accompanying adults free — max one per child)
Join us for the launch of the Powerhouse Museum’s new permanent exhibition Inspired! Design across time and celebrate one of the most impressive collections of decorative arts, crafts and design in Australia. Inspired! includes furniture, fashion, textiles, graphics, glass, ceramics, jewellery and metalwork covering over 300 years. 6.00–8.00 pm
Cost: members $35 (adults only). Includes refreshments.
There’s something for everyone at the Observatory this spring as Mars comes close to Earth.
Monday 7 November
Sydney Observatory Mars viewing night
Join us for a special viewing of Mars, which is at its closest to Earth since 2003 in late October / early November. Plus find out all about the latest Mars explorations in our 3-D Space Theatre with images from NASA’s Rovers. Visit www.sydneyobservatory.com for information on more special Mars events. 9.30–11.00 pm
Cost: members $12 / children $8 / families $32; guests $15 / children $10 / families $40. Bookings essential on 9217 0485.
ONE OF THE TELESCOPES AT SYDNEY OBSERVATORY.
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Saturday 24 September
Powerhouse basement tours
Tuesday 27 September
Exhibition launch The cutting edge: fashion from Japan
The Museum’s collection is like an iceberg — about nine-tenths of it is hidden below the surface. Join us on a journey to the depths in a tour of our basement storage area. Glimpse the Museum’s collection in its resting state — folded, filed, sorted and shelved — during this special members only behind-the-scenes event. 10.00 am, 11.00 am, 12.00 pm.
Cost: $20 members only (age 16+). Tours last 40 minutes.
Don’t miss your chance to join us at the launch of The cutting edge: fashion from Japan, a major exhibition showcasing some of fashion’s most influential designers including Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo. The exhibition is drawn from the stunning collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute with selections from the Powerhouse Museum and some private collections. 6.00–8.00 pm
Cost: members $35 (adults only). Includes refreshments.
Join us for the glamour event of the year — the launch of The cutting edge: fashion from Japan on 27 September.
Saturday 29 October
SoundHouse™ Digital photography workshop for teenagers
Saturday 8 October
VectorLab Introduction to Photoshop Elements and digital imaging
This step-by-step workshop takes you through everything you need to know to create and manipulate digital photos. The workshop will cover topics such as cropping, cutting, montage, layers, digital drawing, adding text and outputting images for both print and web. Digital cameras and computer hardware will also be covered. 10.00 am – 3.30 pm
Cost: members $100; guests $130
Take your digital photography skills to the next level in this workshop, assisted by our team of digital media experts. Whether you are new to the field of digital photography or want skills and tips to improve your work, this course is the one for you. 1.00–5.00 pm
Cost: members $60; guests $90 (includes $30 student membership)
FROM THE CUTTING EDGE: FASHION FROM JAPAN, DRESS BY REI KAWAKUBO, 1997. PHOTO BY JEAN FRANCOIS JOSE. COURTESY COMME DES GARÇONS.
Friday 18 November
Exhibition walkthrough The cutting edge: fashion from Japan
Saturday 26 November
SoundHouse™ Digital video editing course for teenagers
Sunday 27 November
Members discount shopping day
Join curator Louise Mitchell on an in-depth tour of this amazing exhibition featuring fashion’s most innovative and inventive designers — including a new generation who continue to lead the way with cutting edge fabrics and designs. Followed by light refreshments in the Members Lounge. 10.30 am – 12.00 pm
Cost: members: $10; guests: $15
Create your own video in this hands-on workshop combining digital imaging and sound production skills. You’ll learn how to use video editing software Sony Vegas, which turns your computer into a virtual television studio, and discover techniques such as multiple layers and chromakey. Let our digital media experts expand your skills in video production, with time allowed for personal project development. 1.00–5.00 pm
Cost: members $60; guests $90 (includes $30 student membership)
The Powerhouse Museum Shop invites all members to come along and preview our new range of stunning Christmas gift ideas. From designer handbags and jewellery to fabulously fun toys, you’re sure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your Christmas list! Just show your membership card to enjoy a special 20% discount on most items along with free gift wrapping. 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
Become a digital demon in our special members only SoundHouse™ and VectorLab courses.
FROM INSPIRED! DESIGN ACROSS TIME, BRACELET, MADE BY PETER CHANG, SCOTLAND, 2004.
how to book for members events
Unless othewise stated, bookings and pre-payment are essential for all events. You can book online at www.powerhousemusuem.com/members or by phone on (02) 9217 0600 for events at the Powerhouse Museum. For bookings for Sydney Obervatory phone (02) 9217 0485. Three full working days (Monday – Friday) are required for a refund for Powerhouse events. Unfortunately we can’t refund or transfer bookings for SoundHouse™ and VectorLab workshops.
All events are held at the Powerhouse Museum unless otherwise stated. All dates, times and venues are correct at time of publication.
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ALEXANDER FRISINA STRIKES A HEROIC POSE WITH SHIELD AND HEADDRESS.
STEPHANIE WILLET GOES FOR THE GOLD WREATH.
YOUNG VISITOR ASHA LANCASTER GOES FOR THE WARRIOR LOOK, WHILE HIS SISTER JASMIN SMILES FOR THE CAMERA.
Dressing up was the order of the day at the Persephone’s Palace Members Morning Tea in June and Sydney Observatory’s Festival of the Stars later that month.
PHOTOS BY SOTHA BOURN AND MARINCO KOJDANOVSKI.
MATTHEW HAMMOND IN THREEHEADED MONSTER MODE, AND ABBEY WALKER LOOKING LIKE A PRINCESS.
THE ROCKS GHOST TOURS THRILL YOUNG VISITORS AT SYDNEY OBSERVATORY’S FESTIVAL OF THE STARS.
TROUBADOURS STELLA EXPRESSIONS SERENADE GUESTS, WHILE TAURUS AND CAPRICORN STEP DOWN FROM THE HEAVENS.
MEMBERS OF CIRCUS SOLARIS READY TO TAKE VISITORS ON AN ASTRONOMICAL MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR.
DAVID MALIN GIVES A LECTURE ON HIS IMAGES OF THE STARS..
SYDNEY OBSERVATORY MANAGER TONER STEVENSON GETS INTO THE SPIRIT OF THE OCCASION.
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A 1950s TELEPHONE IS AN IMPORTANT ADDITION TO THE MUSEUM’S COLLECTION.
The Powerhouse Foundation has enjoyed great success with numerous functions and donations in the lead up to its first anniversary and annual appeal in September 2005. A particular highlight in this period was the inaugural President’s Circle luncheon on 2 June with guest speaker, Mr Ian Macfarlane, Governor, Reserve Bank. The Powerhouse Foundation President’s Circle is a select networking group for corporate executives who are invited to directly support the Museum’s world-renowned collection. The lunch was attended by leading figures from the business community who enjoyed an exclusive opportunity to hear Mr Macfarlane speak about the role of museums in presenting economic history. Within days of the event, the Foundation received a pledge for $20 000 and is in discussion with many prospective President’s Circle members. To celebrate the Foundation’s first year of fund raising, an annual annivesary appeal will be launched during the month of September. For more details on the appeal or to make your donation, go to www.powerhousemuseum.com/foundation. Melissa Smith, Foundation Coordinator 61 2 9217 0564 or email@example.com
freedom of fantasy
A key part of the acquisition strategy for our information and communication technology (ICT) collection is to focus on product design and its role in corporate image and brand making. A good example of this is our small collection of products from the Italian manufacturer Olivetti, founded in 1908. From its very early days as a manufacturer, the company was aware of the importance and potential of corporate and product image, employing painters, poets and architects to help mould an image for its products and advertising material and even its industrial sites, offices and showrooms. Adriano Olivetti, the son of the company’s founder, was a fan of the modernist graphic style. In the mid 1930s he met and hired young designer Marcello Nizzoli who went on to design for Olivetti until the late 1950s. His award-winning work was recognised by the Italian design cognoscenti as the epitome of Italian functionalist design. This school of thought sought to widen the role of industrial design within companies to encompass all aspects of product development from concept onwards, striving for the achievement of design devoid of ornament and to produce items for the consumption of the masses. The ‘Safnat’ telephone was designed by Marcello Nizzoli in 1958. Its cellulose acetate housing, low-slung stature and anthropomorphic arrangement of dial and push buttons reflect Nizzoli’s design attitude and methods. Rejecting the accepted theories of machine design of the time (‘form follows function’), his work is characterised by sculptural forms and organic shapes. Nizzoli said that he worked toward ‘a freedom of fantasy’ in his design work, and approached it as an interaction of relationships between the consumer and machine. Nizzoli was able to combine industrial design and the plastic arts to create new designs for existing office and domestic products, which appealed to a wider market. Nizzoli actively sought new challenges throughout his career moving from painting to stage design, followed by a series of seminal designs for exhibitions, trade shows and retail shops. Moving into product design, Nizzoli entered the production process as a co-worker, securing the application of new manufacturing technologies. Proof of his versatility and tenacity is that five years after designing the Safnat telephone, Nizzoli went on to design a combine harvester for the Laverda company. The ‘Safnat’ telephone adds tremendous value to our collection of Marcello Nizzoli designs, which include an 1948 Olivetti Lexikon 80 typewriter, a Divisumma 24 electronic calculator from 1956 and a Multisumma 20 electro mechanical calculator from 1964. We remain on the lookout for an example of Nizzoli’s 1950 Lettera 22 portable typewriter for Olivetti, voted the best design of the last hundred years by a jury of 100 designers in 1959. Campbell Bickerstaff, Assistant Curator, ICT
Recent Foundation donors Mr Pat Boland David Mathlin & Liz Burch Mr C W A Flynn Mr Ross McNair Mr Paul & Dr Prapaipuk Mottram Mrs Anne Nelson Mr Brian Sherman Dr & Mrs C Williams
MARCELLO NIZZOLI’S 1958 ‘SAFNAT’ TELEPHONE PURCHASED 2005. PHOTO BY SOTHA BOURN.
MR IAN MACFARLANE, GOVERNOR, RESERVE BANK , ADDRESSES THE FIRST PRESIDENT’S CIRCLE LUNCHEON IN JUNE. PHOTO BY MARINCO KOJDANOVSKI.
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Too good to miss! Powerhouse Members receive 10% off selected merchandise.
THE POWERHOUSE MUSEUM KICKED OFF ITS NEW SERIES OF QUARTERLY DESIGN TALKS WITH GUEST SPEAKER WANDA JELMINI OF MISSONI HOME.
Internationally recognised for their pioneering use of colour, zig-zag patterned knits and lavish stripes, the Missoni label has transcended the vagaries of fashion and stood the test of time. In 1997 the company established Missoni Home, a homewares label which opened up a whole new area for exploring colour. In June the Museum was privileged to have the director of the company, Wanda Jelmini, give the inaugural quarterly design talk, the first in a series featuring design luminaries from both Australia and overseas. Wanda spoke about the history of the company which her aunt and uncle Rosita and Ottavio Missoni founded in the basement of their home in the early 1950s. Combining the yarn used for embroidery with the qualities of knitwear, they quickly became recognised as the masters of colour on the Italian prêt à porter scene. When Rosita ‘retired’ from the fashion industry in the late ’90s she went on to establish the Missoni Home collection, continuing the family tradition with a homewares and interior furnishings range which is both bold and technically brilliant. Using a combination of traditional and contemporary textile technologies, Missoni Home has been able to produce textiles for a range of uses including curtains, carpets, table linen and bath robes. In a world often awash with white, the collection provides a refreshing splash of colour. Wanda talked about the challenges of producing textiles suitable for such a wide range of applications and the importance of finding appropriately skilled technicians and craftspeople. It is often not the cheapest or easiest option and production might take place in Italy, India or Central Europe, depending on where the required skills can be found. In the course of production, Wanda works closely with the technicians to ensure the complexity and richness of her designs are realised. Wanda went on to describe her sense of colour as instinctive and spoke about how her inspiration came from the world around her, often from simply looking at the miracle of colour within nature. She said she often works from her home in a forest region outside Milan and confessed she was a passionate collector of found objects such as shells, sand, leaves and flowers. She concluded by saying that she looked forward to travelling while in Australia and in particular going to Uluru to experience the magical and unique colours of the Australian desert. The Museum’s inaugural design talk was made all the more special by the warmth and generosity of our speaker, Wanda Jelmini. A charming and confident presenter, she spoke and answered the audience’s many questions with characteristic Italian grace and style. Guest speaker at our next design talk on 19 October will be the world-acclaimed designer and self-described ‘cultural provocateur’ Karim Rashid, who will give his unique perspective on design. For details look out for our new Design quarter booklet or visit powerhousemuseum.com.
The Wanda Jelmini talk was presented by the Powerhouse Museum and Spence and Lyda as part of the Sydney Italian Festival. It was supported by the Italian Trade Commission, the Italian Chamber of Commerce, Porters Paints and Vogue Living.
From the Signature Prints range based on Florence Broadhurst wallpaper designs.
The Powerhouse Shop is open 10.00 am – 5.00 pm, 7 days a week. Gift selection service, free gift wrapping and deliveries available. For more information call (02) 9217 0331 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lily Katakouzinos, Education Officer, Design & Decorative Arts
Clutch & purse $149.95 & $44.95 Sleeveless ‘T’ $84.95 Notebook and doorstop $49.95 & $59.95 Photos by Sotha Bourn.
A SELECTION OF HOMEWARES FROM MISSONI HOME. PHOTO COURTESY MISSONI HOME.
IN A DRAMATIC FASHION SHOW FOR TOKYO RECYCLE PROJECT #4, MASS PRODUCED GARMENTS WERE TRANSFORMED INTO THIS SPECTACULAR RED DRESS. DESIGNED BY MASAHIRO NAKAGAWA, 2001. PHOTO BY AI IWANE.
Five years ago popular Japanese fashion designer Masahiro Nakagawa presented a collection that challenged the fashion industry itself. Selecting clothes belonging to fashion journalists and art professionals, he and his team interviewed the owners about the memories associated with them and then set about taking apart and reassembling the garments. The recyled clothes were then given back to their owners. To complement the project, Masahiro created a number of manga (comic book) characters that provided a story telling role. The designer says that the project grew out of his personal response to Tokyo’s overwhelming consumer culture. His project critiques fashion and consumerism but he is also seeking to resuscitate some meaning between people and their possessions which he finds lacking in contemporary life. The success of the first recycle project has led to many more, with Tokyo Recycle Project #15 scheduled to take place at the Powerhouse from Saturday 24 September – Sunday 9 October. Visitors will have the chance to submit outfits to be transformed by Masahiro and his team and watch the entire process from initial consultation to final display. The team will be designing, producing and transforming clothes daily between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm. There will also be an opportunity to talk to the designers at 11.00 am and 2.00 pm daily. For more information about Tokyo Recycle Project #15 and how to submit clothing to be recycled and transformed, phone (02) 9217 0322 or email email@example.com. The Tokyo Recycle team will be reassembling fashion at the Powerhouse from 24 September – 9 October.
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THE CUTTING EDGE: FASHION FROM JAPAN GIVES INSIGHT INTO THE POWER OF JAPANESE FASHION AND WHY IT CONTINUES TO LEAD THE WAY.
story_LOUISE MITCHELL, CURATOR, INTERNATIONAL DECORATIVE ARTS AND DESIGN
the cutting edge
Radical and conceptual, challenging and uncompromising, functional and sometimes incomprehensible, fashion from Japan has commanded international attention since the 1970s and ’80s. Now a new generation of designers continues to lead the way using technologically advanced fabrics and technical ingenuity. The pioneers of Japanese fashion were Hanae Mori, the first Japanese designer to show abroad, in New York in 1965; the designer known as Kenzo; and Issey Miyake, whose name is perhaps the most well known in the west. After establishing the Miyake Design Studio in Tokyo in 1970, Miyake showed his first collection in New York in 1971, and in Paris in 1973. Along with his interest in utilising aspects of Japanese folk culture and traditional textiles, Miyake’s preoccupation during the ’70s was the development of fashion reduced to its simplest elements. Drawing on the tradition of the kimono he produced garments which were, essentially, square or rectangular pieces of cloth, with sleeves attached, that could be wrapped and draped around the body. Over the years, Miyake has collaborated with weavers, artists, poets, choreographers and photographers as part of his exploration of what clothes can do and be made from. While these stunning sculptural creations were more at home in a museum or art gallery, his innovative pleated clothes, developed in the 1990s, reflect his continuing aim to create practical, modern clothes that are beyond trends. Similarly, his current preoccupation A-POC (a piece of cloth), a long tube of stretch fabric that doesn’t require any sewing and is cut by the customer without wasting any material, shows an ongoing commitment to progressive design. Miyake was the first of the Japanese avant-garde to gain an international reputation, but it was the impact of Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto’s collaborative catwalk shows in the early 1980s that really created an intense awareness of Japanese fashion. Kawakubo and Yamamoto’s garments were characterised by intentional flaws, a monochrome palette, exaggerated proportions, drapery, asymmetry and gender-neutral styling. The clothes and models looked shabby in contrast to the power suits and fantasy evening dresses in vogue at the time. Although the clothes by these two designers were just as groundbreaking in Japan, it has been argued that the aesthetics of traditional Japanese culture, particularly of wabi sabi (beauty that is imperfect, impermanent or incomplete), and of the kimono were inherent within their work. Initially the response to these Japanese designs was hostile but within a few years the new aesthetic came to have a major influence on mainstream fashion. Rei Kawakubo had already established her commercially successful clothing label ‘Comme des Garçons’ (Like some boys) in Japan before she teamed up with Yohji Yamamo to present her controversial collections in Paris in the early 1980s. Kawakubo’s often-quoted remark, ‘I work with three shades of black’, belies the fact that since the mid 1980s she has departed from her original sombre palette and her collections throughout the 1990s and early this century have often incorporated bright colours. Over the years her clothes have ranged from sombre, asymmetrical and loose fitting to colourful, light-hearted, romantic and structured. While her designs have changed a lot and her collections are unpredictable, in Kawakubo’s attempts to defy conventional beauty, her clothes are still inclined to offend Western assumptions of taste and tradition. Her stated aim is to avoid conformity and to do something new each time she creates a collection. Since parting ways with Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto’s collections have been characterised by romanticism more in tune with Western aesthetics. He is renowned for working mostly with black and white and his clothes often have a sculptural quality. Yamamoto likes to combine unusual materials with a recognisable silhouette — for example, an evening dress made from a felt similar to that used for billiard tables. His clothes are marked by historical references and a sense of renewal, seen in his blending of culture and history. Now in their 60s, Miyake, Kawakubo and Yamamoto are based in Tokyo where they head large, commercially successful companies that produce clothing lines for the local market, as well as participating in Paris at the twice-yearly prêt-à-porter collections. Their creative dominance remains unchallenged and the new generation of designers have often begun their careers working for them. Junya Watanabe and Jun Takahashi, for example, have been protégés of Kawakubo, while Kosuke Tsumura and Hiroaki Ohya have developed their own labels within the Miyake group of companies. Junya Watanabe is the most celebrated of the younger generation of Japanese designers. Like his mentor, Watanabe is interested in innovative textiles and construction techniques, describing his designs as ‘techno couture’. The first collection to bring him international acclaim was in 1995 when he showed slim-lined knee-length tunics and pantsuits made from a polyurethane laminated nylon in bright colours inspired by the cellophane used in theatre lighting. Although the garments have simple silhouettes, the construction is visibly complex with folds, tucks and pleats emphasised at the joins of the body to make the outfits more comfortable. Jun Takahashi began his design career as a cult figure in Tokyo’s Harajyuku, the centre of Japanese fashion subculture. In 2000, under the aegis of Rei Kawakubo, he debuted his ‘Undercover’ label in Paris to much acclaim. Detail, layering and eclectic use of colour and pattern are characteristic of Takahashi’s work, which he describes as lying somewhere between high fashion and street wear. Hiroaki Ohya cites Issey Miyake as the designer who has had the greatest influence on him. An example of this aim ‘to always seek or create something new’ is his work ‘The Wizard of Jeanz’, a remarkable series of 21 cloth ‘books’ that fold out into clothes. Drawing both on origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, and the book The Wizard of Oz, ‘The Wizard of Jeanz’ is a technical tour de force that allows a book to transform into a ruffled neckpiece, a pair of jeans or an elegant evening dress Like Ohya, Kosuke Tsumura questions the role of fashion in today’s society. Since 1994 the signature piece for his label ‘Final Home’ has been a transparent nylon coat with up to 40 multifunction zip pockets, conceived as a final home in the case of natural or man-made disaster. Tsumura was motivated to rethink his attitude to fashion by the growing number of homeless living in Tokyo. The combination of the simplicity of Tsumura’s designs, coupled with their humorous functionality has made ‘Final Home’ a top label in Japan among the young.
The cutting edge: fashion from Japan opens on 27 September.
Presented by the Powerhouse Museum in association with the Kyoto Costume Institute. Media partners: marie claire & SBS Radio. Supporter: Japan Foundation. Catalogue sponsors: The Gordon Darling Foundation & The Suntory Foundation.
WORKS FROM FOUR OF THE 19 DESIGNERS FEATURED IN THE CUTTING EDGE (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT): POLYESTER ORGANDIE NECK RUFF, JUNYA WATANABE, 2000/01. PHOTO BY TAISHI HIROKAWA, COURTESY KYOTO COSTUME INSTITUTE; FELT DRESS, YOHJI YAMAMOTO, 1996.. PHOTO BY TAKASHI HATAKEYAMA, COURTESY KYOTO COSTUME INSTITUTE; DETAIL OF DRESS, JUN TAKAHASHI, 2005. PHOTO BY MARINCO KOJDANOVSKI; FROM ‘THE WIZARD OF JEANZ’ SERIES, HIROAKI OHYA, 2000. PHOTO BY MARINCO KOJDANOVSKI.
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TO MARK THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF NSW RAILWAYS LOCOMOTIVE NO 1 HAS HAD A FACELIFT.
story_MARGARET SIMPSON, CURATOR, TRANSPORT
the long haul
The completion of the railway line between Sydney and Parramatta in 1855 represented the greatest engineering feat in the colony at the time. In social and economic terms it opened up the potential for transporting goods and people to and from the growing city of Sydney. When the line was extended to Goulburn in 1869, it ushered in a boom time for the farmers, graziers and merchants there and further afield. Central to the building and early operation of the line was Locomotive No 1, one of the Museum’s most prized exhibits for the last 120 years. The story behind the first railway in NSW is a fascinating one. The project was plagued by political and bureaucratic delays, labour shortages, continual financial problems, ineffective engineering and project management and hold-ups in the arrival of iron rails and rolling stock. The driving force for its construction was the politician and Goulburn landholder, Charles Cowper (later Sir Charles). Elected to the NSW Legislative Council in 1843, he campaigned for a railway in 1846 and persisted until the Sydney Railway Company was formed in 1848, with himself as manager and chairman of the board. The first turf for the line was turned on a rain-swept day in early July 1850 not far from the present-day Devonshire Street pedestrian tunnel in a much publicised ceremony organised by Cowper to rekindle investor enthusiasm for the project. By 1853, however, it was obvious state funding was needed and Cowper returned to politics to lobby the government to take over the line, which it did in 1855. Apart from Cowper, two others played critical roles in building the railway: James Wallace, the engineer, and William Randle, the resourceful contractor who not only built the line but ran the first trains. Randle is the unsung hero whose arrival in 1852 transformed construction from incompetent tinkering to drive and action. He opened quarries, built brickworks and set up workshops. Most importantly, he organised the workers and attended to their needs. After the labourers all absconded to the goldfields he encouraged the government to bring out 500 railway navvies from England, recruited there by his father. James Wallace, the engineer, made the railway happen with technical innovations and new plans and specifications. He changed the Sydney terminus from Haymarket to Devonshire Street, the bridges from timber to stone, the track from single to double, the rails from timber to wrought-iron Barlow type, and added a branch line to Darling Harbour. For all his achievements, Wallace’s most lasting change from broad gauge to standard gauge track ironically led to Australia’s great gauge debacle. Locomotive No 1 entered the story in 1855, one of four locomotives built in England the previous year for the Sydney Railway Company. After arriving in Sydney, it was assembled locally and put to work hauling ballast trains of broken stone to build the railway. In May 1855, Locomotive No 1 pulled the first passenger train carrying the governor and his party for an inspection of the railway to the Long Cove viaduct at Lewisham. This was followed by the first trip from Sydney to Parramatta in August, with Locomotive No 1
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FROM FAR LEFT; CONSERVATORS SUE VALIS AND ALAYNE ALVIS AT WORK ON LOCOMOTIVE NO 1. PHOTOS SOTHA BOURN; THE EARLIEST KNOWN PHOTO OF LOCOMOTIVE NO 1 TAKEN IN SYDNEY YARD ABOUT 1858. THE MAN IN THE TOP HAT WAS THOUGHT TO BE WILLIAM SIXSMITH, THE TRAIN’S FIRST DRIVER, BUT RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THE UNIFORM IS MORE LIKELY TO BE THAT OF A STATIONMASTER; LOCOMOTIVE NO 1 PHOTOGRAPHED IN 1905 FOR THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF RAILWAYS IN NSW. PHOTO COURTESY STATE RAIL AUTHORITY ARCHIVES; LOCOMOTIVE NO 1 BEING REMOVED FROM ITS SPECIAL ENGINE HOUSE IN 1905. PHOTO COURTESY STATE RAIL AUTHORITY ARCHIVES; VIEW FROM THE FOOTPLATE WHILE ON DISPLAY IN MARTIN PLACE IN 1938 FOR THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF NSW. PHOTO COURTESY THE LATE RON DEBENHAM.
hauling three first class carriages to accommodate the visiting dignitaries. The railway opened officially, again in the rain, on 26 September 1855 with much fanfare, luncheons and a grand ball at the Prince of Wales Theatre. At midnight the crowd danced to William Paling’s specially composed Sydney Railway Waltz, complete with locomotive sound effects. The line was indeed a significant achievement, with a total length of 13 miles 28 chains (20 km), terminal stations at Sydney and Parramatta and intermediate stations at Newtown, Ashfield, Burwood and Homebush. A tunnel was built at Redfern, an impressive viaduct over Long Cove Creek, and a total of 27 bridges and 50 culverts. The rolling stock included four steam locomotives, 32 carriages and 30 wagons. Locomotive No 1 went on to pull goods and passenger trains between Sydney, Campbelltown, Richmond and Penrith for 22 years. In 1884, seven years after having been withdrawn from service, it was presented to the Museum by the Commissioner
for Railways. Initially Locomotive No 1 was given pride of place in the Agricultural Hall in The Domain, the Museum’s home at the time. When the Museum moved to Ultimo in 1893, the locomotive was stored in a purpose-built engine house for viewing by appointment only, apart from four special occasions when it was taken out for display. In 1980 Locomotive No 1 was restored although no attempt was made to return it to working condition as this would have caused loss to the priceless and irreplaceable original materials. Since 1988, when the Museum opened in its new home in Harris St, Locomotive No 1 has been on permanent public display, complete with first, second and third class carriages. One or possibly two of these were part of the first train of 1855. All were converted after their passenger use to workmen’s vans, which ensured their survival until they were recovered and restored by the railways for the Museum, rare surviving examples of carriages of this vintage.
Now as part of the 150th anniversary of railways in NSW the Locomotive No 1 exhibition has been given a well-earned upgrade. In May, scaffolding was erected over the train in the exhibition and conservators and curators set to work thoroughly cleaning and repairing the locomotive, its tender and the carriages. Four large new display cases have been added to the exhibition to house additional exhibits including over 130 railway models and an impressive candelabrum presented to Charles Cowper by the Sydney Railway Company in 1855. An audio visual presentation, especially adapted for children and narrated by Scott McGregor, tells the story of Locomotive No 1. It is very rare for a country to retain its first locomotive as most were scrapped. Locomotive No 1 is one of the most significant items in the Museum’s collection and in the history of NSW. Happy birthday Locomotive No 1 and the NSW railways!
The Locomotive No 1 exhibition is sponsored by RailCorp.
powerline spring 05
THE OBSERVATORY ADDS A NEW TELESCOPE TO ITS COLLECTION AND MARS COMES CLOSE TO EARTH.
THE DUDLEY ADAMS TELESCOPE ON DISPLAY AT SYDNEY OBSERVATORY IN THE TRANSIT OF VENUS EXHIBITION. PHOTO BY SOTHA BOURN.
In March this year the Museum purchased a spectacular late 18th century reflecting telescope at auction, using funds from the Observatory’s Name-a-Star fund-raising program. The telescope was made by respected London instrument maker Dudley Adams and is similar to the one used by James Cook to observe the transit of Venus in 1769. Reflecting telescopes, which collect starlight with large curved mirrors, are still popular today. Examples range from the giant Keck telescopes in Hawaii, with their 10-metre-wide mirrors, to small home-built instruments for the amateur astronomer. The speculum metal mirrors in the Dudley Adams telescope illustrate how technology has changed since the 18th century. Modern telescopes now all use aluminised glass mirrors.
Name a star and help build the Observatory’s collection.
With Sydney Observatory’s Name-a-Star program, members of the public have the opportunity to ‘adopt’ a star in their own name or in the name of a loved one. The stars are taken from the Observatory’s Southern star catalogue and recorded on the Observatory database. A special viewing of the chosen star through one of our telescopes is part of the package. A Name-a-Star package is both a unique gift and the chance to help preserve and expand the equipment and collection of Australia’s oldest observatory. For more information, please call (02) 9241 3767 or 9217 0478. Nick Lomb Curator of Astronomy
looking at Mars
In late October and early November Mars will be at opposition, which means it will be closer to Earth than at any time since 2003. During this time Sydney Observatory will be open for not-to-be-missed telescopic views of the red planet. People have been fascinated by Mars for thousands of years but detailed views of the surface had to await the arrival of space probes in the 1960s. Viking 1 and 2 were the first to actually land on the surface of the planet, in 1976, followed by the Mars Path Finder in 1997 and the 2004 Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.
THE RED PLANET. PHOTO COURTESY NASA.
Eighteen months later the rovers are still exploring. Both have revealed strong evidence that Mars was once wet enough to support life. Opportunity has found ripple patterns in rocks and marblesized balls of hematite, nicknamed ‘blueberries’, that only form in salty water on Earth. Spirit found rocks with high levels of chlorine and other chemicals that indicate the rocks were once wet. For details of Mars telescope viewings and talks visit sydneyobservatory.com.au. Martin Anderson, Astronomy Educator, Sydney Observatory
powerline spring 05
THE POWERHOUSE MUSEUM GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGES THE SUPPORT OF THE FOLLOWING ORGANISATIONS
SPORT: MORE THAN HEROES & LEGENDS DICK SMITH AUSTRALIAN EXPLORER BELL 206B JETRANGER III HELICOPTER GREEK TREASURES: FROM THE BENAKI MUSEUM IN ATHENS COLES THEATRE, TARGET THEATRE, GRACE BROS COURTYARD, K MART STUDIOS
ECOLOGIC: CREATING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
STEAM LOCOMOTIVE 3830 STEAM LOCOMOTIVE 3265
GREEK TREASURES: FROM THE BENAKI MUSEUM IN ATHENS
SYDNEY DESIGN 05
POWERHOUSE MUSEUM @ CASTLE HILL
BOMBAY SAPPHIRE SYDNEY DESIGN 05 D FACTORY ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA, SYDNEY DIVISION ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE 2004 INDESIGN MAGAZINE D FACTORY SYDNEY DESIGN 05
MARIE CLAIRE THE CUTTING EDGE: FASHION FROM JAPAN MINCOM LIMITED LIFE FELLOWS DINNER 2005 POLOXYGEN INSPIRED! DESIGN ACROSS TIME
RAILCORP LOCOMOTIVE NO 1 SBS RADIO GREEK TREASURES: FROM THE BENAKI MUSEUM IN ATHENS THE CUTTING EDGE: FASHION FROM JAPAN SOUNDHOUSE™ MUSIC ALLIANCE SOUNDHOUSE™ MUSIC & MULTIMEDIA LABORATORY
ARAB BANK AUSTRALIA THE CURIOUS ECONOMIST: WILLIAM STANLEY JEVONS IN SYDNEY SYDNEY DESIGNERS UNPLUGGED: PEOPLE, PROCESS, PRODUCT NOVOTEL SYDNEY ON DARLING HARBOUR OFFICIAL SYDNEY HOTEL
NSW TREASURY THE CURIOUS ECONOMIST: WILLIAM STANLEY JEVONS IN SYDNEY RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA THE CURIOUS ECONOMIST: WILLIAM STANLEY JEVONS IN SYDNEY
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THE POWERHOUSE MUSEUM IS A STATUTORY AUTHORITY OF, AND PRINCIPALLY FUNDED BY, THE NSW STATE GOVERNMENT. CASINO COMMUNITY BENEFIT FUND NSW
+australian government partners
AUSTRALIA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE
BRUCE AND JOY REID FOUNDATION GORDON DARLING FOUNDATION JAPAN FOUNDATION SUNTORY FOUNDATION VINCENT FAIRFAX FAMILY FOUNDATION
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AND GIVING TO THE POWERHOUSE MUSEUM PLEASE CONTACT MIRANDA PURNELL ON (02) 9217 0577.
exhibitions at a glance
The cutting edge: fashion from Japan
LEVEL 5, FROM 27 SEPTEMBER – 29 JANUARY 2006
Australian Design Awards
Showcases the work of 19 Japanese designers including pioneers Hanae Mori and Kenzo Takada; the ‘big three’ Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto; and the work of a new generation who continue to challenge Western notions of fashion. Inspired! Design across time
LEVEL 4, FROM 6 OCTOBER 2005
The Powerhouse selection from the Australian Design Awards features outstanding achievements in design. Watts ‘n’ drops
FROM 10–18 SEPTEMBER 2005
Featuring fashion, furniture, textiles, glass, graphics, ceramics and metalwork, Inspired! surveys 300 years of decorative arts and design. Discover the power of objects and the pleasure of people who use and treasure them. Sydney designers unplugged: people, process, product
LEVEL 3, UNTIL 9 OCTOBER 2005
Learn more about water and energy and how to make it last the distance in this display jointly presented by the Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability, Sydney Water and the Powerhouse. Free weekend 10–11 September. When the roof became stars: the Australian Federal Police investigation of the Bali bombings
FROM 12 OCTOBER – 11 DECEMBER 2005
Find out what it really takes to be a product designer! Sydney designers unplugged looks behind the scenes of seven leading product design studios. Morris & Co
LEVEL 3, UNTIL 6 NOVEMBER 2005
In October 2002 two bombs exploded in the popular tourist centre of Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia, killing over 200 people. This exhibition looks at the first eight months of the AFP investigation of the tragedy. Locomotive No 1
From the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia. Furniture, tapestries, embroideries, curtains, fabrics, carpets, textiles and wallpapers designed and made in the workshop of William Morris & Co. Greek treasures: from the Benaki Museum in Athens
LEVEL 4 UNTIL 4 SEPTEMBER 2005
Locomotive No 1 has a facelift complete with a new audio visual about the history of railways in NSW. Paradise, Purgatory, Hellhole: the history of Pyrmont and Ultimo
LEVEL 3, UNTIL 29 JANUARY 2006
Experience some of the many stories from a community that hasn’t stopped changing. Engineering Excellence
LEVEL 4, UNTIL 2 NOVEMBER 2005
Artworks and artefacts spanning 8000 years of Greek history including ceramics, gold jewellery, Byzantine painted icons, metalware and figurines.
Outstanding projects from the Engineers Australia, Sydney Division, Engineering Excellence awards.
WOOL DRESS, JUNYA WATANABE, COMME DES GARÇONS, 1999. COLLECTION KCI. PHOTO BY TAKASHI HATAKEYAMA; DEVILISH CHAOS, GLASS BOWL, TOOTS ZYNSKY, THE NETHERLANDS, 1995; LOCOMOTIVE NO 1 ON DISPLAY IN MARTIN PLACE IN 1938. PHOTO COURTESY STATE RAIL AUTHORITY ARCHIVES.
exhibitions at Sydney Observatory
The sky and the weather
FROM OCTOBER 2005
Wollongong City Gallery
29 OCTOBER 2005 – 29 JANUARY 2006
Intel Young Scientist 2004 Newcastle Regional Museum
UNTIL 18 SEPTEMBER 2005
Learn all about weather forecasting, plus much more in this fascinating new exhibition. By the light of the southern stars Look behind the Southern Cross and hear Aboriginal stories about the sky.
Works wonders: stories about home remedies Port of Yamba Historical Society
UNTIL 5 SEPTEMBER 2005
Boorowa Museum, Boorowa
16 SEPTEMBER – 29 OCTOBER 2005
Sport: more than heroes and legends SciTech Discovery Centre, Perth
UNTIL 23 OCTOBER 2005
Nyngan & District Museum
5 NOVEMBER – 11 DECEMBER 2005
Fruits: Tokyo street style TeManawa Museum, New Zealand
10 SEPTEMBER – 27 NOVEMBER 2005
Queensland Museum, Brisbane
14 NOVEMBER 2005 – 12 FEBRUARY 2006
Gambling in Australia: thrills, spills and social ills Coffs Harbour City Gallery
UNTIL 15 OCTOBER 2005
Greek treasures: from the Benaki Museum in Athens Immigration Museum, Melbourne
FROM 5 OCTOBER 2005 – 28 MAY 2006
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1 year $85 $50
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3 years $217 $127
** A household is up to two adults and all students under 18 years at the same address. Country households must be more than 150 km from Sydney GPO. Concession applies to full-time students, seniors, pensioners, unemployed and all adults in the household must be eligible for concession.
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from the collection
Kylie Minogue wore this sundress during her memorable performance at the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The pop diva starred in a fun tribute to Australian beach culture that introduced the ‘Parade of Icons’ segment. She entered the arena on an enormous thong, to the sounds of the Atlantics’ classic surf instrumental ‘Bombora’. Then, kneeling on a surfboard, she was carried to the stage by a group of surf lifesavers. Kylie’s sundress was identical to one worn by Nikki Webster during the opening ceremony. It is one of the 700 costumes, props and other items in the Powerhouse Museum’s Sydney 2000 Games collection.
KYLIE: an exhibition will open at the Powerhouse Museum on 26 December. A celebration of Kylie’s contribution to music, stage and screen, this travelling exhibition has been developed by Melbourne’s Arts Centre, home of the nation’s premier Performing Arts Collection, to which Kylie recently donated over 300 items.
GIFT OF THE OLYMPIC COORDINATION AUTHORITY ON BEHALF OF THE NSW STATE GOVERNMENT.
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